On July 1st, 2015, Spain officially became a police state. There’s simply no other way to put it. The “gag law” passed late last year went into effect on that date, and if you still have any doubt about how extreme and oppressive these laws are, let’s take a quick look at a summarypublished by The Local:
1) Fines for protesting
Under the new law, anyone who organizes or takes part in an “unauthorized protest” could be fined between €30,000 and €600,000 if the protest takes part near institutions such as the Spanish parliament.
2) Distrupting public events
Disrupting events such as public speeches, sports events or religious ceremonies could face fines of between €600 and €300,000.
The Spanish tradition of getting together with mates for outdoor drinking sessions looks to be officially over – drinking in public will be hit with fines of €600 under the new law. And teenagers won’t escape – Parents will be held responsible for the payment of their offsprings’ fines.
4) Social media activism
Using Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to call on people to protest will be fined under the new law, an attempt to put paid to the spontaneous protests that have proved very powerful in building the indignado movement.
5) Photographing police
People will be fined for taking unauthorized photographs of the police, a measure introduced with the argument that being publically identified could put officers and their families in danger.
6) Smoking weed
It puts an end to the laissez faire attitude that has seen Spain become a nation with one of the largest potsmoking populations in Europe. But from now on lighting up a joint in bars or on public transport could result in a fine of between €600 and €30,000.
7) Leaving furniture in the street
It is a tradition that has existed in Spain long before the current upcycling trend but from now on dumping unwanted furniture in the street could come with a penalty. Those caught obstructing streets with old furniture, cars or other unwanted items will be fined.
8) Trying to stop an eviction
People trying to stop an eviction from taking place could be fined between €600 and €300,000. The number of evictions in Spain has skyrocketed since the beginning of the economic crisis. New Barcelona mayor, Ada Colau has been a famous anti-eviction activist.
9) Not having your ID
Spaniards who are asked to show their ID card and do not have it on their person could be in trouble under the new law. If they cannot immediately locate it at home and have failed to report it missing, they are liable to be fined.
10) Disrepecting a police officer
Showing a “lack of respect” to those in uniform or failing to assist security forces in the prevention of public disturbances could result in an individual fine of between €600 and €30,000.
The above measures are so overtly authoritarian, the only conclusion one can possibility come to is this move simply represents the last desperate gasp of a completely discredited and terrified status quo. As such, there is no way these laws will succeed in the way the government intends. As the saying goes, “when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.” Increasingly, Spanish citizens have nothing to lose, other than residing in a jail cell perhaps. Inevitably, people will become so despondent and angry that even the threat of a prison sentence will seems worth the risk, as opposed to staying passive, obedient and enslaved. When enough people come to this conclusion it’s game over for the establishment.
Nevertheless, it is still possible for Spain to resolve the above dilemma without an all out chaotic revolution. This fall, Spain will hold general elections which may sweep into power a brand new political party known as Podemos, or “We Can.” I wrote about Podemos last year in the post, Brand New “Podemos” Political Party Surges Ahead of Incumbents in Spain as Catalans Prepare Informal Independence Vote. Here’s an excerpt:
As is always the case, at some point all populations snap under the relentless weight of fraud and corruption and demand an end to the status quo. It appears that moment may be near for the Spanish population, as evidenced by the incredible rise of the brand new political party “Podemos,” which translates into “We Can.”
The party was formed earlier this year, and is now leading the polls against both establishment political parties, the Socialists and the People’s Party, which have run the country for the past 32 years. The following graphic perfectly demonstrates the incredible suddenness of its rise:
Podemos already made a huge dent into the current ruling Popular Party back in May’s local elections. As the Huffington Post reported at the time:
MADRID (AP) — Spain’s prime minister acknowledged Monday he was disappointed with his party’s showing in local elections, which he attributed largely to austerity measures his government was compelled to take during Europe’s recent debt crisis and a recent string of political scandals.
The elections Sunday in many Spanish cities and regions dealt a serious blow to Mariano Rajoy’s governing Popular Party. Two new parties carved out kingmaker roles by capitalizing on voter disaffection with established parties for their handling of the economy among other reasons.
The opposition Socialists, who came in second with 25 percent of the vote, saw their total number of supporters drop half a million to 5.6 million in the ballot for seats in more than 8,100 town halls and 13 of 17 regional governments
But the left-wing We Can party and the centrist Citizens party, two organizations that only began operating on a national level last year, finished a strong third and fourth.
We Can leader Pablo Iglesias said Monday the result spelled the end of the two-party system that has dominated Spain for nearly 40 years.
Spanish elections this fall will be one of the most significant geopolitical events of the year, and I’ll be paying extremely close attention.
What Does this Mean for America?
Those of us in America who care deeply about the future of liberty, should pay very close attention to what is happening in Spain. Although the slide toward a fascist surveillance state in the U.S. has been frighteningly precipitous, it remains a soft-police state. As such, we still enjoy many freedoms that have been banned in Spain. One of these, although police will often try to convince you otherwise, is the right to take pictures of, and video tape police, as noted in the post: Know Your Rights – How to Respond When Police Tell You to Stop Filming.
What we want to avoid is a situation in which the U.S. government feels emboldened enough to pass laws like those passed in Spain. So while we still have our remaining Constitutional rights, we must exercise them prodigiously and inform everyone we can about our heritage of freedom. We have the luxury of being able to look at other nations far further down the fascist rabbit hole than we, and learn valuable lessons of how a corrupt status quo responds. Let’s not squander this opportunity.